Biography: Bruce Beutler

Bruce Beutler
University of Texas Southwestern at Dallas



Bruce Beutler was born on December 29, 1957 in Chicago and recieved his M.D. from the University of Chicago in 1981. After graduation he worked as a scientist at Rockefeller University in New York, at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, where he discovered the LPS receptor. Then he moved to Scripps Research Institute where he was a Professor and Chairman, Department of Genetics at The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA, USA. Recently, he rejoined the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas as the Director of the Center for the Genetics of Host Defense.His father, Ernest Beutler, a hematologist and medical geneticist, was also a Professor and Department Chairman at Scripps.

Beutler was the first to isolate mouse tumor necrosis factor-alpha and to demonstrate the inflammatory potential of this cytokine, proving its important role in endotoxin-induced shock. Interested in the mechanism by which LPS activates mammalian immune cells, Beutler used TNF production as a phenotypic endpoint to identify the LPS receptor. Identification of the receptor hinged on the positional cloning of the mammalian Lps locus, which had been known since the 1960s as a key genetic determinant of all biological responses to LPS.[8] Beutler thus discovered the key sensors of microbial infection in mammals, demonstrating that one of the mammalian Toll-like receptors, TLR4, acts as the membrane-spanning component of the mammalian LPS receptor complex. The research on TLRs won him the Nobel Prize in 2011.

Bruce Beutler shared one half 2011 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine with Jules Hoffman for their discoveries concerning the activation of innate immunity, whereas other one half of the prize was awarded to Ralph Steinman, who was also a member of Board of International Scientific Advisors of the Foundation for Primary Immunodeficiency Diseases, for his discovery of the dendritic cell and its role in adaptive immunity.

Bruce Beutler has also received numerous other awards and accolades in addition to his Nobel Prize. Some notable honors include: Will Rogers Institute Annual Prize for Research, the Albany Medical Center Prize, the Balzan Prize for Innate Immunity (2007, the William B. Coley Award of the Cancer Research Institute, USA, and the Robert Koch Prize of the Robert Koch Foundation, Germany.